Barcelona Attractions & Things to do
Barcelona’s attractions are plenty. If you only have a few days…how can you decide which are the best Barcelona things to do? Here’s some ideas based on my local experience :-)
Barcelona is a word composed by three: “bar”, “cel” and “ona” meaning “bar”, “sky” and “wave”. Those are very important elements in the city’s culture and I’m going to base my recommendations on Barcelona attractions on them. About the “bar”, the Catalan cuisine is well known all over the world. There’re many restaurants with Michelin stars and our cookers like Ferran Adrià, Sergi Arola or Carme Ruscadella are very famous for their creations. So, what do you need to taste to feel the Barcelona flavor?
First thing: “pa amb tomàquet i pernil”. This is a very simple combination but really local: bread with tomato and smoked ham. Where does it come from? They say in the old times, poor people couldn’t afford to buy bread every day so they used to spread tomato in the one from the day before to soften it and this way it was easier for them to eat it. Nowadays it’s served in the fanciest restaurants and represents one of the major culinary Barcelona attractions.
Another “must” in the Catalan and Spanish cuisine are “tapas”. “Tapas” is a way of eating. Basically, it’s little portions of different food served in a dish or with bread. We eat a lot of seafood like this and we love it! You can combine it with a good Penedès wine (typical OD from Catalunya) or with cava (or own -and better- version of Champagne).
The third thing you have to try is paella. And this is related to the second Barcelonan word: “wave”. The best “paellas” are made in the restaurants of “La Barceloneta” the sailor’s area of the city next to the sea that totally deserves a walking tour. “El sheriff de la Barceloneta”, “El merendero de la Mari”, “Restaurant Barceloneta” are three of the most well-known ones.
But you should go to “la Barceloneta” not only for paella but also to see our beach, which is one of the best Barcelona attractions. Take your time to walk in the sand late in the afternoon and then enjoy a drink in one of the “chiringuitos” (little bars on the beach) while watching the amazing sunset.
The last word is “sky”. Barcelona has a great spot where the view is amazing: Montjuïc. This old mountain used to be where they buried the Jews of Barcelona and that’s where the name comes from. From Montjuïc you can see all Barcelona. It’s easy to get there with the metro, bus or cable car, which it’s a great experience itself if you’re not afraid of heights.
There’re other interesting things in Montjuïc such as the Miró Foundation or the MNAC. Miró was a very influential Catalan contemporary artist and his museum, from my point of view, is one of the must see Barcelona attractions. The MNAC is also a must in Barcelona, is the National Museum and its palace is itself a great work of art. You see the fountains? In summer they dance with the sound of music in a very colorful show that happens every day at noon.